Is She Yours?

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Wendy’s former SMSU student and now good friend, Stina (Honken) Howie. Stina was Dr. Wendy’s office worker for 4 years or as Stina says “Wendy’s go-to-gal at SMSU.’  😉🙌🏼

Stina Howie loves Jesus, her cute hubby Kenton, their two-year old daughter Kezlyn, and their one-year-old son Kendrix. She attended SMSU, earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education with a Special Education minor, and had a work study job with Dr. Wendy. Stina is a former preschool teacher who lives on an acreage with her sassy little family and does daycare in their home. They have a baby in heaven, adopted their daughter, and had their son eight months later. She hopes to add more sweet babies to their family {sooner rather than later}, return to teaching when the kiddos are all in school, and do foster care in the future. Her hobbies include teaching, crocheting, playing volleyball, baking, eating ice cream, and being a mama.

Blog Adoption Stina Family

“Is she yours?” Sounds like a simple enough question, right? It’s one that I’ve heard from random strangers more times than I can count. My answer is always yes. Yes, she’s mine. She may not look like me, but she’s definitely mine.

Our sassy, stubborn, smart, sweet two-year-old was adopted at birth. Kezlyn was placed in our arms when she was four days old and I cried the instant I saw her tiny face. From the moment I laid eyes on her I knew she was our baby girl and she was my promise from God fulfilled.

blog adoption match

Ever since we brought her home we’ve been bombarded with questions and stories from friends, family, and strangers. “Is she yours?” “Did you adopt her?” “What agency did you work with?” “Why did you pursue adoption?” “How old is her mom?” “Does she have other siblings?” “Why couldn’t her mom take care of her?” “Are you fostering?” “How much did she cost?” “What aisle of Walmart did you find her in? Haha!”

As you can see some questions are more appropriate than others and some are just plain offensive. The “Are you fostering?” question, however, caught me off guard more recently and I got more than a little upset. Not because fostering is a bad thing (someday I hope that will be a part of our story), but because someone thought they needed to know my daughter’s story.

We were checking out at Walmart and Kezlyn was throwing a fit in the cart. She was hungry, wasn’t getting her way, and was just acting like a normal toddler. As I paid, the cashier asked how old our little guy was. I said, “He’s 1 and she’s almost 2.” Then she asked if we were fostering. I replied, “Nope. They’re both ours.” She didn’t say another word and I grabbed my bags and left.

After we put our kids to bed that night I started to wonder why. Why did she assume that he was ours and she wasn’t? Was it because she’s black and we’re white? Was it because of her behavior? Did she assume Kezlyn hasn’t had a stable home because she looked like a handful? Would she have asked the same question if my white kid was the one throwing a fit? Why did she even need to ask? How would knowing have benefited her? What would her response have been if I had said yes?

In hindsight I should have just asked her why she wanted to know. That probably would have revealed her intentions pretty quickly. Maybe she grew up in foster care or was a foster mom herself. Maybe she knows someone else who was fostering and wanted to connect or ask about a support group. And maybe, just maybe, she was just being nosy.

So many people think they NEED to know my kids’ stories. Please understand that it’s her story to tell and you’re not privy to all the details. I love talking about adoption and God’s faithfulness in our journey and would love to connect if that’s your intent. If you want to talk adoption please ask questions.

I wish people were more like the sweet older couples at Culver’s that night. The ones who giggled when she raced past them with her free custard coupon. The ones who assumed she was ours just as much as he is ours. The ones who carefully chose their words to ask how we grew our beautiful family.

Ultimately, I want people to be cognizant about their intentions and choose their words carefully. Please don’t ask how much she cost or what aisle of Walmart we found her in. Our kids hear what you say and how we respond. We have to explain to them after you leave why you asked what you did. I’d love to be able to tell them that you want to use adoption to grow your family too.

Sometimes people ask me why I pursued orphan and foster care. My reply is, “I didn’t. I pursued Jesus, and He led me to kids who needed families.” -Brian Mavis

The things I love to hear when I’m out with my kids? “You have a beautiful family.” “How old are your kids?” “They’re so cute.” “How did they join your family?” “We adopted our…” “If you need help with her hair try…” “Have you heard of ___? They have a support group for adoptive parents.”

My most recent interactions in public have been great. People haven’t touched my children without permission, they’ve giggled as Kezlyn ran past with her tiny cart, and they’ve told me I’m doing a good job. Those kind words have lifted my spirits and helped me get through the countless tantrums over not buying more than four bags of mini marshmallows, not letting my children eat the fruit snacks or suckers they dropped on the floor, not letting her put the giant bag of popcorn in her tiny cart, or not letting them eat grapes before we buy and wash them. Life is hard and being a mama is exhausting, but it’s so rewarding and we all need words of encouragement.

Can I ask you to do something for us? Find ways to connect with the adoptive and foster families around you. Is everyone called to adopt or foster? No, but everyone is called to support those who are. We all have different needs and want to be supported in different ways. Ask the families around you how you can better support them as they love their kids and follow God’s call on their lives. Educate yourself on adoption friendly language—check out Adopt Well on Facebook, Instagram, or their website. http://www.adoptwell.com

Want to know how we have been blessed? People donated to our adoption fundraisers. A good friend bought us groceries when we got home from our two-week trip to Georgia. We had friends bring us meals because when Jesus blesses you with babies eight months apart you barely have time to shower let alone cook supper. They snuggled our littles so I could pee alone or have my hands free to mix a bottle. My grandmas at Bible Study welcomed two tiny tots each month and helped hold them so I wasn’t outnumbered for an hour. Friends connected with me on social media or sat on my couch and asked how I was really doing. Those conversations helped me keep my sanity while I was surrounded by crying babies. A friend who does foster care would love to have you match her socks. Another friend would ask you to wash her dishes. Above all, I love knowing that people are praying for us as we love and raise our sweet babes.

If you want to talk about adoption or foster care please reach out. There are so many sweet children who need a loving family. Do you want to know what things I’m willing to share about Kezlyn’s adoption? The agencies we worked with, the pros and cons of each one, their average cost, etc. If I refuse to answer a question please know that it is out of respect for my sweet girl and her first family.

Blog adoption foster wisdome

Let me leave you with a snippet of our story. A few weeks before our wedding a friend prayed for marriage and babies. While she was praying I heard God say the name “Kezlyn” and I held onto that name as our promise of babies.

It carried me through our miscarriage, two years of trying to get pregnant, and a failed adoption match. My preschoolers would remind me that God keeps His promises and He would give us babies in His own time.

We matched with an expectant mama, a week later found out we were pregnant, and a week later Kezlyn was born. We waited one year and one day from when we started the adoption process to her birth. Our daughter was placed (not given up) for adoption by her first mama who loved her so much.

We worked with a fantastic agency in Georgia called An Open Door Adoption Agency and love them like family even though we’ve never met them. I can see God’s hand so clearly in our lives. He brought us our precious babies (our son was born just a short time later) at just the right time. If we had gotten pregnant any sooner we wouldn’t have been able to adopt and if we had adopted any sooner we would have stopped trying to get pregnant.

Our sweet babes are the best of friends and I’m so thankful that God had better plans than I did. He kept His promise of babies to me and continues to use them to show us His mercy, grace, and love. My kids are great and worth knowing and loving. I’d love to have you join us on our journey. 💝💙

Thank you, Stina, for sharing your beautiful story. If you’d like to visit with Stina about adoption, you may contact her at kristinabeth09@gmail.com.

Stay Calm and Consider Adoption!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

 

 

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